The Big Lottery Fund will spend £110m over the next four years on grants for projects that support older people in England.
The first part of this funding will be a £10m fund that has been launched today.
Organisations can apply for grants of between £50,000 and £200,000 from the Silver Dreams Fund. The BLF said that it was looking for 30 projects to fund with the initial £10m, which would enable them s to test and develop their ideas over the next 12 to 18 months.
The BLF wants to fund projects that support people who are aged 50 and above and aim to engage with isolated older people, particularly by encouraging more active older people to volunteer to help others who are less able.
The BLF will then choose up to five of these 30 projects to receive more funds – up to £1m each – to carry their ideas forward.
A statement from the BLF said the idea was that this initial £10m fund would shape how the other £100m was spent between 2012 and 2015 by seeing which projects could have the greatest impact.
The newspaper the Daily Mail has partnered with the BLF to help promote the initiative and will be asking its readers to be part of the process of deciding which projects are funded.
Dharmendra Kanani, England director at the BLF, said it wanted to change the perception of older people.
"We’re focusing on the positive side of ageing with this initiative," he said. "We want to fund creative projects that do not regard older people as a resource drain but as an asset."
He said the BLF wanted to fund projects that older people had been involved in developing.
Charities interested in applying for funding from the Silver Dreams Fund should visit the BLF website. The closing date for applications is 28 October.